Comparing the efficiency of fixed and tracking solar cell panels in a tropical location

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2006
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- Monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous silicon solar cell panels were installed on fixed and tracking rigs to determine which solar cell panel type and mounting arrangement (fixed or tracking) is optimum. This study was conducted at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Thailand, which has a tropical climate. The fixed panel rig was positioned at a tilt angle of 30°, facing south. The tracking panel rig tracked the sun using a scope sensor linked to a microcontroller. Performance of the solar cell panels was determined via an average conversion efficiency over one year. The results show that the fixed monocrystalline solar panel has better performance than the polycrystalline and amorphous panels, with average conversion efficiencies of 6.8%±2.4%, 5.7%±2.0% and 4.2%±1.5% respectively. The tracking monocrystalline solar panels also have better performance than the polycrystalline and amorphous panels, with average conversion efficiencies of 9.1%±2.9%, 6.4%±1.9% and 5.4%±1.5% respectively. The tracking solar cell panels have a larger average conversion efficiency than the fixed solar cell panels, due to the difference in solar flux intensity and the impact this has on the solar cell fill factor. This study also takes into account the effects of ambient air temperature and wind speed close to the solar cell panels. Based on the economical and maintenance aspects, the fixed solar cell panels have advantages over tracking solar cell panels. The monocrystalline solar cell panel has an economical advantage over the polycrystalline and amorphous solar panels.
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